Thursday, October 18, 2012

Battle Royale #7: Battle of the New Wave

Welcome to the seventh Battle Royale here at The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World.   It is an ongoing series that will pit two classic cinematic greats against each other - and you can vote for who is the greater by clicking your choice over in the poll at the top of the sidebar.

With our seventh edition of Battle Royale, I have decided to bring this usually classic Hollywood based contest into the modern day.  Well, by modern day, I am talking the 1960's - at least mainly.  This time around you are being asked to decide between those two rabble-rousing, young buck, revolutionary critics-turned-filmmakers (though I should probably say critics-turned-auteurs) who began it all with the Nouvelle Vague, or the French New Wave if you will, way back in 1959.  Now yes, there were a whole gang of cinematic thugs (and I use that term quite lovingly indeed) that helped create what would become known as the aforementioned Nouvelle Vague - Claude Chabrol arguably was the first to release a New Wave film, and Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, Alain Resnais, Jacques Demy and others were among the creative forces in the movement, but let's face it, it's all about Godard and Truffaut, and we know it.

François Truffaut, the man who, while writing for Cahiers du Cinema, gave us the auteur theory (later expanded and espoused by NY film critic Andrew Sarris) was the heart of the movement while fellow compatriot Jean Luc Godard was its brains - or perhaps the guts.  Your mission, if you accept it, is to pick the one you think is the greater filmmaker - the greater auteur.  Is it the romantic who gave us the acerbic sentimentalism of The 400 Blows or is it the man who broke it all open with Breathless a year later?  The man who brought us Jules et Jim and the Antoine Doinel series or the one who gave us Contempt, Band of Outsiders and Week-end?  The man who said "Film lovers are sick people" or the man who said "Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world" (sounds familiar, eh)?  It is a battle between all the Truffaut lovers and all the Godard heads out there.  The decision is yours o faithful readers and true believers.  All you need do is go on over to the poll (found conveniently near the top of the sidebar) and vote your collective little hearts out.

And please remember that one must go over to the poll to have one's vote counted.  You can babble away in the comments section all you want (and that is certainly something I encourage, as we never get enough feedback around these parts) but to have your vote count, you must click on your choice in the poll.  And also, please go and tell all your friends to vote as well.  Our biggest voter turnout since starting the Battle Royale series has been just 66 votes.  I know we can get that number to a cool one hundred before it is all said and done and the proverbial smoke does its proverbial clearing.  The voting period will last two weeks, so get out there and vote people, because all you sick film lovers out there who love the beautiful fraud that is cinema, will definitely need to be in on this one.


Anonymous said...

I love the Truffaut/Godard divide, because it's so pure. People usually have a very clear preference, there aren't many straddling the fence. As for me, it's Truffaut without a doubt. I've sat through 20 Godard films (counting all the HISTOIRES as one) and the only one I've loved is BAND OF OUTSIDERS. I really like VIVRE SA VIE and a few others have some appealing qualities, but most of them I've hated to some degree. Despite all of Godard's championing of the proletariat, it's Truffaut who makes films more for the common man. Movies that are a joy to experience, not a chore.

Leonadi said...

Truffaut made some great movies, but Godard changed cinema.

Jeffrey M. Anderson said...

If I could sit down and have a beer with one of them, it would be Truffaut, without a doubt, but Godard was the better filmmaker.

Kevyn Knox said...

For some reason (because Blogger widgets suck maybe) the poll in this Battle Royale went back to zero last night. The score when that happened was 11-10 in favour of M. Godard. Now it seems like people can vote once again, so I will just combine the scores for a final tally. So it goes.

Kevyn Knox said...

I am thinking that as a younger, more pliant cinephile, a mind and heart full of idealism and romanticism, my allegiance went to M. Godard and his revolutionary ways, but as I get older, and supposedly wiser, and perhaps more nostalgic and even more romantic, but romantic in a different way, my leanings begin to turn away from the madman and toward the more old fashioned, but still quite revolutionary mind you, mannerisms of Truffaut and his cinema.

Now these aforementioned allegiances and/or leanings still tend to sway a bit more toward JLG, but the gap between the two seems to be softening/closing lo these past twenty years or so of contemplation on the whole kit and kaboodle.

In the end, Breathless, Week-end, Alphaville, Band of Outsiders, Contempt, Les Carabineers and Vivre se vie still outreach 400 Blows, Jules et jim, Shoot the Piano Player, Day for Night, The Wild Child, Two English Girls and The Bride Wore Black. But who's to say what I will think a decade from now.